A pedestrian passes by the Georgia Supreme Court Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. The Georgia House has approved Gov. Nathan Deal's proposal to add two justices to the state's Supreme Court. Georgia's Constitution permits up to nine justices; state law currently provides for seven justices. The measure now will be reviewed by the state Senate. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Photo: David Goldman
Photo: David Goldman

Five things we learned under the Gold Dome today

It’s not the weekend yet for Georgia legislators. It was a full day at the Capitol and we’re in for another full day tomorrow, with a rare in-session Friday. 

Here are 4 things that happened at the Georgia Capitol today that you should know:

1. The House passed a bill to expand Georgia Supreme Court by two justices. [The bill would allow Gov. Nathan Deal to appoint the two new justices as early as this summer.]

2. The Georgia House is set Friday to approve a record $23.7 billion state budget for the upcoming year. [This budget could mean the largest pay raises 200,000 teachers and state employees have seen since the Great Recession.]

3. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, calls for an end to “mystery groups,” funded by what’s commonly called “dark money.” [In Georgia, the most effective of these groups come from the political right, including the various tea party groups.]

4. Though Gov. Nathan Deal has endorsed Republican candidate Jeb Bush in the past, he doesn’t seem quite ready to wholeheartedly endorse the Floridian ahead of the March 1 primary. [The reason centers on the exhausting regional battle over water rights that has divided Georgia, Florida and Alabama for more than two decades.]

5. A bill that would let voters in DeKalb and Fulton decide whether to pay up to an additional half-percent sales tax for MARTA took a step forward in the Senate. [The next step is for the Rules Committee to schedule a floor vote in the Senate.]

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